12 July 2022
It was a morning of World War II history, celebration and nostalgia, as the Talbot Heath school community travelled back in time for a unique senior, interdisciplinary learning event – Women in Service – that took place recently. Attending the event was special guest Eddie Izzard, who was accompanied by former TH pupil and tour manager, Sarah Johnson. The day provided a special opportunity for pupils to learn about the vast talents, contributions and efforts that women gave during the Second World War. Both Eddie and Sarah share a keen interest in WWII, with Eddie having starred in a number of films set in the era, including the 2008 film ‘Valkyrie’, 2014 ‘Castles in the Sky’, as well as the 2020 ‘Six Minutes to Midnight’ war drama.
The actor, comedian, writer, charity fundraiser and political activist toured the school and discussed a wide range of issues with pupils and staff. Highlights included a Morse Code centre, in the Battle of Britain Radar ‘control room’; drama workshops inspired by the WAAF, [Women’s Auxiliary Air Force], and stories of former TH pupils who worked at Bletchley Park. Another focus of the morning for the visitors was an Ethics class, discussing gender and war, Lindy Hop demonstrations, and a visit to the music school to join the pupils singing wartime songs. Eddie also took the opportunity to enjoy an impromptu singing lesson with one of the music teachers, Joy Atkinson, who was very impressed with her new pupil!
Mrs Holloway spoke about the event: ‘Our Women in Service event celebrated the contributions of women in the Second World War in a unique and creative way, educating our pupils as to how critical the role of women was at this time. We were extremely fortunate to welcome both, Eddie Izzard and Sarah Johnson, to the school that day, ensuring that the event was memorable for staff and pupils in so many ways. Thank you to everyone who was involved.’